A traffic policeman checks the blood alcohol concentration of a driver (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Health (MoH) is finalising a draft law on alcohol-related harms prevention and control and plans to submit it to the National Assembly for consideration in May 2018.

The draft law will feature policies and regulations based on the results of studies on alcohol consumption in Vietnam, Nguyen Huy Quang, Director of the MoH’s Legal Affairs Department, said at a workshop co-held by the ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Hanoi on September 26.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said Vietnam now ranks second in Southeast Asia, 10th in Asia and 29th in the world in terms of the alcohol consumption rate.

More than 77 percent of adult males and 11 percent of women said they had drunk alcohol in the past 30 days. Nearly half of men had engaged in heavy episodic drinking. Meanwhile, the older people are, the more alcohol they consume, according to Tran Quoc Bao – an official from the Department of Preventive Medicine.

About 45 percent of the surveyed people said they used to drive a vehicle within two hours after drinking. A national survey on Vietnam’s male adolescents also shows that 20.8 percent of the respondents drove after drinking and sustained injuries that led to a leave of at least one week from school or work.

Bao said alcohol directly results in at least 30 diseases and is the indirect cause of 200 other diseases. It is also one of the top 10 causes of deaths in Vietnam, according to the WHO.

Deputy Minister Long said many regulations are thought to be new, but in fact they have already been enforced in other countries for a long time and proved effective, such as the ban on alcohol sales after 10 pm or for underage youth, and the ban on alcohol advertising at public places.

If such regulations are not enforced drastically, alcohol consumption in Vietnam will grow at an even faster pace, he stressed.-VNA